A federal district judge in Oregon approved on March 19 Millman Lumber Co.'s purchase of North Pacific's building material distribution facilities in Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis. The sale is part of the dismantling of North Pacific after the Oregon-based distributor defaulted on a $30 million debt.

Millman will operate the Ohio and Indiana facilities through a new business to be called FP Supply Co., Millman president Richard Millman said in a March 3 e-mail sent to North Pacific's customers in the area. "With this new agreement, FP Supply Co. will be the exclusive Weyerhaeuser iLevel, Trus Joist, and Structurwood distributor in Indiana, Ohio, and northern Kentucky," Richard Millman wrote. "... Our plan in the future is to also increase our product mix to include treated lumber; fire treated [lumber]; a full line of pine boards, poplar boards and clear fir items; Canfor 4-Square SPF; Interfor cedar and other commodity and specialty items."

North Pacific has operated for more than 50 years as a wholesale distributor of building materials, industrial and hardwood products, and other specialty products. It handles various types of lumber, telephone poles, pilings, logs, and composite products and at one point operated more than 50 locations. Its annual sales have topped more than $1 billion, but like many companies in building materials, it has been hurt hard by the housing slump.

Last summer company-owned North Pacific began actively marketing all of its assets, according to the purchase agreement approved. Last Aug. 6, the company announced it had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by an unnamed private equity firm. But that deal apparently fell through, and eventually it defaulted on a debt to lenders that by Feb. 10 totaled $30 million.

On Jan. 20, U.S. District Judge Anna Brown appointed Edward Hostmann Inc. to serve as receiver for North Pacific (story). Hostmann began the process of breaking up the company and selling its pieces.

On Feb. 25, the court approved the sale of North Pacific's Missouri operations to Atlas Trading Acquisition LLC of Oregon. Atlas bought several parts of North Pacific: its food and agriculture unit, its utility and construction unit, and all the hardwood and industrial products units excluding its hardwood lumber and flooring businesses in Arkansas and Missouri.